Fighting back against human trafficking: over 1,000 people liberated

The news nowadays can often seem depressing, as the world never seems to get out of crisis mode. That’s why it’s all the more important that we regularly remind ourselves that – even in light of the challenges we are confronted with – good things happen too. Recently, for example, over 1,000 victims of human trafficking were saved in the Philippines.


In a raid carried out around 90 kilometres north of Manila, 1,090 people were liberated who had been forced to work on online fraud schemes. Because of the nature of the work they were doing, of course, it wasn’t just the people being forced to carry out the fraud who were suffering, but also the victims of the schemes, in the USA, Canada and Europe. They would have been convinced by the forced labourers to buy cryptocurrency or transfer money into false bank accounts on the strength of sham romantic relationships. At least twelve suspects from various Asian countries have now been taken into custody, accused of human trafficking.


The captive workers first had their passports taken away from them, and were then forced to work for up to 18 hours a day, with deductions from their wages for offences such as contacting colleagues and taking breaks deemed to be too long. “It’s like being a prisoner without a cell. People weren’t even allowed to speak to the others living here,” said the speaker of the news agency AFP. The workers were not allowed to leave the properties, and were taken to their dormitories after working. Police explained that most of the victims were from China, Vietnam, the Philippines or Indonesia, and also included nationals of Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Myanmar, Hong Kong and Nepal. We can only hope the Philippines authorities carry out more raids of this nature. According to the Filipino Senator Lisa Hontiveros, there are believed to be several such “fraud call centres” operating in the Philippines.


Criminal activity recently suffered another blow, this time in Switzerland, when the police liberated an under-age prostitute from a brothel in Aargau canton in April. The brothel owner was subsequently arrested, and the under-age girl is receiving psychological care. The tip regarding the under-age girl came from the population. It was only as a result of this tip that the police went to check the brothel, and discovered that the identity papers found there didn’t actually match those of the girl in question. This shows just how important it is to voice such moments of suspicion, and to send anonymous tips to the authorities. It doesn’t matter whether it’s one person or one thousand being liberated; merely the fact that we stay active and do what we can to help bring injustices like these to light. By responding more to the problem increasing public awareness, we can also ensure greater numbers of victims are protected and helped in future.

Translated by Tim Lywood

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